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For readers in international marriages or long-term relationships, what are some of the biggest challenges you have had to face?

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Mostly cultural issues.

Where I'm from we would have seperate accounts while here in Japan the wives would control the money and give the dads small sum of allowance. We agreed to have our own separate accounts and freedom in managing our family money. We made another joint account where we would use for our expenses (bills, credit cards, expenses). I would never need to ask for money for my hobbies.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Having to listen to stereotypical preconceptions about international marriages..

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Right on Tigers !

5 ( +5 / -0 )

dodosuko

divorced my first wife exactly because of that. she was so lovely when we were dating and she was living with me in my country, but she came back to Japan and as soon as I came the woman changed, demanding my wage at the very FIRST month I came here....I couldn't accept the idea of working my butt off and managing to survive with a small allowance and asking everytime I wanted to buy my own stuff, like a kid. Earning around 300.000/month and counting the coins to have a beef bowl, are you serious??? Thank GOD I found a wonderful person and since she has lived in England for many years, her mindset is completely different, but poor average salarymen...

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Having to listen to other foreign husbands who have not attempted to accept local customs and practices and who would rather change their wife than change themselves..
-8 ( +3 / -11 )

The biggest challenge was keeping the family in the UK up-to-date with the grandkids, back in the days before Facebook and Skype. A challenge brought on by distance rather than 'international marriage' as such, and one that wouldn't be such a big challenge today.

As an 'international' couple? No problems.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

As an 'international' couple? No problems.

Ditto. No different from any other marital challenges. We just get on with it (not me and Cleo that is...)

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Thunderbird

My thoughts exactly, I feel sorry for those whose getting few hundred yens allowance while working their whole lives but some of my Japanese friends told me they have a stash account for their hobbies (golf, fishing, cars, girls,photography,to name a few that I know) they put aside a few man yens for their hobbies and give the rest of their income to their wives.

Another big challenge that I had was to keep the sexual relationship still happening even after we have children. I would surprise her sometimes with gifts, sweet talking, etc to keep us the romance alive or 'rabu rabu'. A lot of my Japanese friends turned to prostitution (soaplands, health delivery and such) because their romance turned cold. Where I'm from everyone people have more sex than Japanese couples(at least much more frequent) even way until the kids are old. I don't want to end up having sexless marriage like a lot of my Japanese friends, although we're doing it less than compared to when we were dating but luckily I still have some actions going after my kids are asleep ;p

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The libido gap.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Thanks for the detailed information dodosuko. You sweet talker you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yep no issue whatsoever. I haven't been with someone from my native country for over 15 years now and actually reckon an 'international couple' is more balanced than a monocultural one. Less mind games for example as you dont expect the other half to react the way you're used to. Perso I love it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm probably going to get shot down for this, but you blokes complaining about the 'tap being turned off'. Is it totally unimaginable that what you're offering isn't worth the effort on her part? Mebeez you all need some of dodosuko's actions? ;)

(takes cover...)

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@Tigers

well it's that sweet talking that make me end up with my J-wife in the first place :p

@Reckless

we would sometimes leave the kids to the inlaws to have our own time, like going to nearby Onsen, or kinky rabuho just to create the mood, but not too long as the inlaws would get tired of watching the kids ;p

@Cleo

Exactly, simple praises, surprises, gifts (doesn't have to be expensive), and a good mood or place could help, in my country we have a saying "we need to grab their heart and everything will follow suit" ^^

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm probably going to get shot down for this, but you blokes complaining about the 'tap being turned off'. Is it totally unimaginable that what you're offering isn't worth the effort on her part? Mebeez you all need some of dodosuko's actions? ;)

Right on, Ms. Cleo. I listen to my married friends go on and on about the tap being shut off. But then I ask them when was the last time you bought your wife flowers, took her out to dinner ( not ガスト), talked sweet to her, cooked for her? And they all say the same bs: who's got time for all that? And I just quietly remain stunned while watching them down their fourth pint at the bar. They expect to turn on the tap with one violent thrust when they fail to realize you have to be gentle with the tap, grease it up a bit, stroke it a bit, tell it how much you appreciate and need it. You know.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

when was the last time you bought your wife flowers

Mr cleo never buys me flowers, he knows watching them wilt and die makes me sad. And there's always the chance (virtual certainty) that the cat will want to see what the vase looks like tipped sideways with the flowers on the floor. Instead I get seeds and cuttings. And the occasional pot plant.

Make sure to match your tap actions to the needs of your lady - one size does not fit all. :-)

6 ( +7 / -1 )

This post has turned into a readers wives confessional...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

My six drive is no less than when I was 20 and hers seems to be gone

And do you pay her the same attention you paid her when you were 20?

no hesitation to spend my money and not work. Anyways, there are other taps and some of them are very nice to me.

Reckless indeed....

You're sure she doesn't pick up at all on the negative spending my money and not working vibes? Sure she hasn't clocked the other taps?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

My cultural ignorance at times.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is it totally unimaginable that what you're offering isn't worth the effort on her part?

How about this situation...

You've been (as far as you can) a nice partner. You've remembered birthdays, anniversaries... bought presents, flowers, cards, etc... Always try to be friendly, enjoy the good times and be a shoulder to cry on in bad times... You've even given over your salary to your wife in order to "fit in" (which I think is a big thing for a foreign guy to do)...

So you've done all those things and then after a couple of kids your Japanese wife says she doesn't want sex any more.

You try and persuade her, talk about it, discuss, apologize for the lack of romance and try to fix that, suggest counseling, etc...

And then she stubbornly says, forget it... sex is over...

What do you do? Divorce her and miss seeing your kids growing up?

I think that unilateral decision to shut down sex is the most selfish and mean thing a woman can do in a marriage...

And I think it is very common for Japanese woman to do that after having kids.

Not all of course, but very common.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Our biggest challenge, what toppings for the pizza. I hate squid, mayo, and corn. She hates pepperoni, bell peppers, xtra cheese and sausage. But she cooks a mean ziti and meatball bake my mom taught her so I'll keep her.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

unilateral decision to shut down sex

Ask yourself; why would she 'shut down' something that brought her great pleasure and joy and was central to her happiness?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yikes . . . these are some frighten posts . . .

I listen to my married friends go on and on about the tap being shut off. selfish Japanese woman who was raised during Bubble and thinks money grows on trees

And do you pay her the same attention you paid her when you were 20? What do you do? Divorce her and miss seeing your kids growing up?

Seems like there are NO "Soul Mates" out there & that (as much as we'd like to have that 'perfect' someone) they just DO NOT exist!! There will always be bickering, fussing etc.

. . . & btw, toppings like nori, squid, corn and mayo have ABSOLUTELY NO BUSINESS on top of a pizza.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Ask yourself

haha

Wouldn't it be better to ask her?

I thought you women were always exhorting men to "communicate" in a relationship...

Anyway, most guys married to Japanese women who have found themselves in this situation do ask their wife.

They get answers such as...

"I don't need it any more."

"We've had kids so there is no point."

"I don't like it or want it any more."

"Normal couples don't have sex after kids."

etc.

Seriously... what would you do if you were the guy in this situation?

Go out and buy 12 red roses, a bottle of champagne and some sexy underwear and expect that to solve things...?

Come on... give us your ideas...

1 ( +5 / -4 )

"I don't need it any more." "We've had kids so there is no point." "I don't like it or want it any more."

Mmm, so there was this hungry lady, and she met a nice man and he was hungry too, so the nice man cracked some eggs and made them both an omelette. They ate the omelette together and it was nice.

A little later they were both hungry again, so he made another omelette, and they ate it together. The omelettes they had were lovely, well-seasoned, sometimes with veggies mixed in, sometimes with cheese melted in the middle, and they both enjoyed their omelettes. And the lady looked forward to mealtimes, wondering what kind of yummy omelette he was going to make for her this time.

And they ate a lot of omelette....

Now the lady didn't feel so hungry so often, since she knew all she was going to get was another darn omelette. And she'd gradually realised that her nice man (who was still a nice man) wasn't putting the effort into making nice omelettes that he used to. Sometimes they were too runny in the middle, other times they were too dry. And they were always plain omelettes, only egg, never with yummy veggies and stuff in them. Sometimes they were burnt around the edges, because her nice man didn't seem to be paying attention to detail; all he wanted was his omelette, now. And it was always an omelette. There was never any bread or cheese or salad. Not even any salt in the omelette. And sometimes there was even eggshell in it. The omelettes had become pretty unpalatable. The lady couldn't remember the last time she'd had a nice omelette, served on a nice clean plate with a knife and fork and serviette. The last one they'd had straight out of the pan, eating with their fingers. So the lady told her nice man she didn't want any more omelette. Then the nice man was upset because after all an omelette was still an omelette, and he didn't even notice that there was no salt and no salad and sometimes not even a clean plate. He didn't understand why on earth she wouldn't want his omelette any more. He didn't notice that it wasn't the same omelette that he used to make, hadn't been for a long time; all he knew was that she was rejecting his omelette, and that meant she was rejecting him. There must be something wrong with her.....

So he went out and bought her a dozen roses and some lacy knickers to make her happy, and she was happy and pleased that he had made the effort to make her happy, and they had another omelette together. But there was still no salt, still bits of eggshell, and it was really, really runny in the middle because he was in to much of a hurry to cook it properly. But she said nothing and forced it down because she didn't want to hurt his feelings. This happened a few more times; sometimes he brought roses, sometimes his favourite alcoholic beverage, sometimes a racy cookery book for them to read together before they had their omelette. But having to force the barely-cooked omelette down only made it more and more unpalatable to her, until in the end she put her foot down and told him No More Omelette.

And the nice man was sad and confused because she didn't want to eat his omelette, so he went and told his mates that his wife had turned anorexic and not even roses could bring her appetite back any more, and they all felt sorry for him and understood how he felt, because they'd all forgotten how to make yummy omelettes, too.

the end. :-)

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

And she'd gradually realised that her nice man (who was still a nice man) wasn't putting the effort into making nice omelettes that he used to

There was never any bread or cheese or salad. Not even any salt in the omelette.

But she said nothing and forced it down because she didn't want to hurt his feelings.

What a bunch of blab-mouth nonsense. What happened to husbands and wives "having each others back"? Lots of drama in that last post. Sheesh . . . just let him "wear the pants" . . . it' might work out eventually.

See. Just goes to shoe there are no "Soul Mates" its just some girly fantasy that never comes true. No mateer what race / creed you both are nor how matter long-term you've both been together.

-good riddance People.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The egg-based imagery is kind of bizarre but anyway...

You're describing one possible scenario, for sure.

But it's not the common one that many guys with Japanese wives have experienced.

In your scenario, you have the guy making an effort to rekindle things with flowers and lingerie and so they have another go...

But say in the real world the wife, despite his efforts, just plainly refuses to even try having sex again.

For her sex is over... finished... never again...

Your scenario doesn't seem to address this possibility.

And say the reason for that was just to suit her own preference.

Your scenario doesn't address that either.

Say if she makes it clear that, however much effort he makes, she never wants to have sex with him again.

Say also if she refuses to kiss, hug and hold hands.

Say if the husband tries to give her a big hug and kiss and she freezes like a log, or else pushes him away.

Say if she stops giving the husband a hug or a kiss...ever.

Say if she makes it perfectly clear that she wants either a platonic marriage or no marriage...

This is the reality of many marriages in Japan, for both foreign guys and Japanese guys.

(of course there are other scenarios where the guy is clearly wrecking the marriage but that's not what I am talking about)

hmm... what to do... when one partner in the relationship unilaterally shuts down sex...?

I asked before if you had an ideas about what to do in this real world scenario.

Instead we got a kind of weird story... but how about this...

It must certainly happen the other way round (the husband shuts down sex)

Say if your husband said he didn't want to have sex any more...

Seriously, what would you do?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

JT meets afternoon chat shows.

No beer guts or muffin tops. The best g-strings and tight Armani briefs don't look good if you have a a lardarse. A bit of variety and surprise. The odd bit of depravity which gives a fleeting look of uneasiness. Flowers, sweet words and the odd outburst of pure filth. Oh, and alcohol.

I'm sure this appeals to people of all cultures and both sexes.

It's not that hard but do need to work on it.

Sexual innuendo after a few drinks works too.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Seriously, what would you do?

Seriously, I would be devastated. And I would wonder what had made him suddenly (?) no longer want to engage in an activity that I thought had been giving us both so much pleasure.

And I think I might possibly cringe a bit to think that maybe I'd been the only one enjoying it all along, he had simply been humouring me and now it had got to the stage where he couldn't stand it any more.

I would also worry about his health; could there be some underlying medical cause sapping his libido?

In any case, I would not be a happy bunny.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What would you do?

"When in Rome, do as the Romans do"

All my J-guys buddies are all having happy amazing sexual lives, just none of them involving their J-wives.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The biggest challenge I've had to face is always having a spotlessly clean home, ironed shirts, good food, a loving wife (who refuses to age) and plenty of wonderful sex. Not sure how I've managed to date but we struggle on.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

We've had issues related to being an international marriage, but nothing to extreme, and I figure they are just different issues than we would have had were we a common-culture marriage. Marriage comes with difficulties no matter where the person you married is from. It comes down to the personalities of the spouses as to whether they can handle the difficulties in marriage, whether they be born of an international marriage or a common-culture marriage.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In any case, I would not be a happy bunny.

That tells us how you would feel.

I was asking... what would you do?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Lots of sex here, mostly.

@Cleo, I love the omlette analagy: all I could think was that to make an omlette one has to break some eggs, which I think has nothing to do with your message, but might be a better way to understand any marriage.

And the 'tap' metaphor -lOl - in all seriousness I started thinking that people were talking about blokes!!!

Me, second time around (her first). Now both in middle age. More companionship really. Sex, some, maybe enough. But for us thankfully both of us have spent enough time outside of our home countries to get over that aspect.

Thankfully too, the curiosity factor is negligible (eg. kokusai kekkon ha omoshirosou!). For me, anyway, 'interesting = difficult'. probably the most that some one is willing to accommodate and compromise is early on in the marriage/relationship. After that I think people prefer what is familiar, which is what or where they have come from, in which case something else like compatibility, common interests, likes, dislikes, goals - even or sometimes especially sex - need to fill the wilting accommodation void.

I am lucky because my wife is mainly my really good friend: she looks after me and I look after her. But do I do 50% of the cleaning cooking and housework? No, about 60-70%, though maybe 40% of cooking. Then she does all that again she thinks I am not good at it at all. Then the rest. It gives her satisfaction, telling me that at least I have tried. And she has her things to do and I have mine and we have space and time in which to do those and have some interest in each other's stuff at the end of the day.

With kids it may have been different. However 'international' marriage is mostly in the view of everyone else. For us I think it is just marriage albeit a good one. 'International' has far less to do with it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I know that the "international marriage" part refers to Japanese/western relationships, but I'm in a different situation. I'm single, live in Japan, have a great career, and love it. Japan has been good to me, and I have no desire to leave.

The problem is, the kinds of men I am attracted to are the kinds of men who do not especially like Japan and have no interest in settling in this country (putting it bluntly: they don't need to come all the way to Japan to get laid/hired, because they can do that anywhere).

So for me, the hardest part of a relationship is the distance factor. Flying back and forth over several time zones several times a year puts an enormous amount of pressure on a relationship, along with the stress of trying to make everything perfect in the short time that you do spend together. It was fun at first, but it just wears me out now.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The problem is, the kinds of men I am attracted to are the kinds of men who do not especially like Japan and have no interest in settling in this country (putting it bluntly: they don't need to come all the way to Japan to get laid/hired, because they can do that anywhere).

This is kind of a weird statement. I know lots of guys in Japan who don't need to come to Japan to get laid, they can/did/do get laid in other countries.

But what I find often with western women in Japan, is that they are bitter about the Japanese women getting most of the attention, even from the guys mentioned above.

I don't know if you are the kind of girl who is against all western men in Japan, because they are western men in Japan, but your comment makes it appear that way. If you are, and you dropped that attitude though, you'd be more likely to find a guy who doesn't need to come to Japan to get laid.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I was asking... what would you do?

I thought I told you what I would do... I would wonder ..... I might possibly cringe a bit .... I would also worry about his health.

What I would not do is go looking for second-best elsewhere. Sex is good because it's with him, not because it's sex. If you see what I mean.

what I find often with western women in Japan, is that they are bitter about the Japanese women getting most of the attention

Really? Can't say I've ever found anything to be bitter about. Before marriage there was plenty of attention going round for everyone.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

With kids it may have been different. However 'international' marriage is mostly in the view of everyone else. For us I think it is just marriage albeit a good one. 'International' has far less to do with it.

I can say the same as an international marriage with no kids yet.

The one thing that has been a challenge for us as an international marriage is J-husband's salaryman job. Oh. My. Word. Luckily he isn't the type to go along with it and we'll do "dassara" after we've saved up a bit.

For a western woman who's used to ideas of worker's rights, a private life, etc., it might be tough if your Japanese partner is inflexible about being a salaryman in a Japanese company.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Everyone can mention particular examples of culture, but I think ultimately it's less about what is a cultural norm and what is unchangeable for any given person. My wife and I both come from foreign countries, and we've had a LOT to adapt to, but realize that with the 'bad' we perceive from each other's learned behaviours/culture they are just that -- learned. We have learned, to an extent, to live with them and change them where possible. Where they are not, we have to compromise -- same as anything else.

That said, one of the hardest things for me has been cultural history; while I feel I know a lot about this region and the history, she has not. It's a small point outside of politics, perhaps, but try watching a movie that deals with racial differences or The Holocaust or something, be it satire or serious, and needing to either explain every detail (especially satire) and make it unenjoyable, or else just give up much to the same result. Language, of course, plays into that as well. Enjoying the beauty of Shakespeare or how clever someone writing in that vein is or how bad the fail. Goes both ways, of course.

The money thing, too. We tried the 'she controls the purse strings' thing for a while and it just did NOT work; especially because all of the bills we pay and what not are still carry overs from when I was on my own -- meaning my accounts, my name, etc. I would hand her my salary and she would hand it back asking me to pay the bills the next day. I'd have to ask for money to buy her presents, then she would tell me what to buy, giving me that amount (romantic, right?), and NO WAY was I putting up with a weekly stipend while she went out to buffets and what not for lunch and then shopping after. So, we pool our money in a joint account, still mine, really, and discuss major purchases, gripe if the other uses it for 'non-essential' stuff (which of course varies depending on whom is doing the talking).

Anyway, again, depends on the people. I think in many cases there is the potential for far more excitement and life-long 'learning' than with something you already 'know', so to speak. You need to find the right match, and that's not a cultural thing for everyone.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

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